With the help of director Kevin Macdonald, producer Ridley Scott and a few hundred other filmmakers, YouTube is making a movie.
YouTube, owned by Mountain View, California-based Google Inc., is organising the creation of Life in a Day, a project that plans to document July 24 with user-submitted videos from around the world.
YouTube is asking people to upload footage of their daily lives. Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, State of Play) serves as director and will edit together a feature-length documentary from the submitted material. Scott (Gladiator, Robin Hood) will produce.
"I hope it will be something that will open people's eyes to the possibilities of user-generated film," Macdonald said. "Of course, it's a risk. It could be that I won't get anything interesting back. But I don't think that will be the case. I'm sure there will be some real gems, some real magic, which is what I'm looking for."
The film will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It will simultaneously be streamed on YouTube for free. Those whose footage makes it into the film will be credited as co-directors, and 20 of them will be flown to Sundance for the premiere.
The project mirrors YouTube's two previous crowd-sourcing efforts to marry its enormous community with professionals. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra gathered classical musicians from YouTube with the help of conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and composer Tan Dun.
The recently launched YouTube Play partners with the Guggenheim Museum to create a "biennial of creative video."
Macdonald says he expects the film to be a kind of time capsule. The filmmaker, whose credits also include the mountain-climbing documentary Touching the Void, said he's particularly inspired by the 1930s and ‘40s British documentary filmmaker Humphrey Jennings.
Macdonald made a 2000 documentary about Jennings, who co-founded the Mass Observation movement, which sought to record everyday life by turning several hundred diaries into a book.